I am a fan of myth and mythologies, and as with many, the Greek and Roman myths were the first ones that fired my imagination as I came across them in many forms when I first began reading. I think the D’aulaires’ books on Greek and Norse myths may have been amongst the first handful books I owned as a child.
As such, I am also fascinated with how authors will take those myths or the people immortalized in those myths and weave new tales about them in ancient times, modern times, or the far-flung future… those gods and goddesses, kings and queens, heroes and heroines still call out to us, and in many of those stories, they rarely change or display more than what the ancients told us they were like so many centuries ago.
But every now and then, a storyteller comes along and reinvents the ancient myths and its heroes along with everything you thought you could know about them. Jordanna Max Brodsky has managed to do that with her debut novel, first in what I hope will be more than a mere trilogy.
Selene DeSilva was the goddess Artemis long ago, and in her role as Protector of the Innocent, had lived many of her previous lives as a policewoman avenging wrongs against the innocent, especially women and children. She’s lived in what’s now New York City since before there really was a city, and in her current life, she’s chosen the underground vigilante path rather than the law enforcement path (because of a slight issue with having accidentally killed her partner when she caught him molesting a beaten & assaulted prostitute he was about to unjustly arrest).
When she comes across the mutilated body of a woman in Central Park dressed in a ceremonial fashion that seems familiar to her, Selene gets caught up in a case connected directly with her ancient origins. With the help of Theodore Schultz, a Columbia university professor whose expertise lies in ancient Greece, she investigates the crime, which inevitably adds a second and a third body to the count. Selene enlists the help of other Olympians and Immortals once she realizes that she may be the one person who can stop a madman from completing a ritual series of human sacrifices that would revive ancient powers and perhaps drive civilization back into its darkest times.
The portrayal of the ancient gods as still being around but with faded powers and abilities because they are no longer worshipped is something that’s been used in other stories, but the appealing twist here is how different gods are at different levels because of the changing times. Apollo is still very strong because he’s a rock star (as the God of Music), Hermes is rich and powerful because of how much humans rely on communication, but others have faded, or gone insane, and many of the Titans and other demi-gods have faded or even died. There’s an almost throwaway comment from Apollo about how lucky their “cousin” Nike had been that’s very hard not to laugh out loud at.
The amount of research that must have gone into Theo’s knowledge of ancient Greece and the ancient Greek language is staggering, and the lush details that it adds to the story makes me want to go re-read all my Greek mythology tales again.
This is another series set in a realm with characters I can connect with… one that I’m going to get impatient with every time I have to wait for the next book to come out.
Manhattan has many secrets. Some are older than the city itself.
The city sleeps. Selene DiSilva walks her dog along the banks of the Hudson. She is alone — just the way she likes it. She doesn’t believe in friends, and she doesn’t speak to her family. Most of them are simply too dangerous.
In the predawn calm, Selene finds the body of a young woman washed ashore, gruesomely mutilated and wreathed in laurel. Her ancient rage returns. And so does the memory of a promise she made long ago — when her name was Artemis.
The Immortals (Olympus Bound Book 1) by Jordanna Max Brodsky
Hardcover: 464 pages
Publisher: Orbit (February 16, 2016)
"The Immortals" by Jordanna Max Brodsky
Every now and then, a storyteller comes along and reinvents the ancient myths and its heroes along with everything you thought you could know about them. Jordanna Max Brodsky has managed to do that with her debut novel, first in what I hope will be more than a mere trilogy.
This is another series set in a realm with characters I can connect with… and one that I’m going to get impatient with every time I have to wait for the next book to come out.